“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ~ Stephen R. Covey
What is it that sets some people apart? It’s the way they act. And interact only with that which is true to their values…like integrity and simple human decency.
What is the root cause of most people’s problems? They’re misaligned – in work, in relationships, in life – with values they hold to be true…and that leads to dissatisfaction.
These two questions greet visitors to my company’s home page. When I launched the business 7+ years ago, I believed that many people were misaligned. Today, I have absolutely no doubt.
Here’s an admission: I have procrastination tendencies. Procrastination is an almost universal human habit and one that infiltrates nearly every aspect of our lives. Modern existence is so complex, and much of what we long to do is left to wait by the side. We know what is important but tend to let the weight of worldly pressures lead us astray.
To get back on track, however, we need to only take a moment to consider where our thoughts will be when we take our last breath on this earth. More likely than not, at that instant, disagreements, bills, petty annoyances, and other frustrating elements of our lives will no longer seem as significant as they once did. Whatever we imagine ourselves musing upon during our last breath will almost always be representative of what truly matters to us.
This simple exercise introduces us to a new way of thinking. At least it did for me. While our attention is drawn momentarily to the end of life, our contemplations serve to point out that we are masters of our own perspective and, consequently, our own experience. There is nothing preventing us from shifting our focus right now as we imagine we will in our final moments.
We can choose to spend more of our time and energy on what gives our lives meaning. We can spend more time with loved ones and do more of what we enjoy. Doing so may not always prove easy, and there will inevitably be times when circumstances interfere, yet we do not have to regard this as an indication that our priorities are not in alignment with who we really are. And what’s important.
Sometimes the only way we can see the beauty of life is to remind ourselves that it is finite. When that becomes clear, it diminishes our propensity to procrastinate. It also creates space in which we can work to realign with what really matters.